Diggers Dozen
Des Morgan (Yam Who?)
Record don and one half of London based DJ / producer duo Yam Who? Des Morgan takes us through his incredible wall to wall record collection of the mysterious and wonderful, picking just 12 of his top shelf, most fortunate and intriguing finds he has discovered on his vinyl searching ventures.

Des grew up around a culturally and musically diverse environment from listening to his fathers steel band rehearse and perform to his older siblings love of soul, funk and reggae. The arrival of Hip-Hop in the UK became a major influence and an obsession with the music being cut-up, copied and sampled began.

Des adds; Back then I spent a lot of time in second-hand record shops looking through a wide range of music even when I couldn't afford to buy any records. Starting out at art college at 16 I was drawn to the sleeve artwork which was an education in itself. I also started hunting in charity shops and car boot sales where prices were cheap enough to take a chance on something that looked like it could be good, which sometimes paid off with a gem if you were lucky. It was also a good way to pick up a lot of good records in one go. I also started looking at the musicians and producers on certain records which would lead you to other artists, labels etc.

After a chance meeting with resident DJ Andy Williams at Happiness Stans in Spitalfields in the mid 90's Des & Andy started talking about working together inspired by a mutual love of soul and funk with a heavy dose of disco. A wonky dubbed out disco acetate followed, recorded when Andy was living on Ladbroke Grove, fast forward to 2003 Des was regularly carting his instruments down to Andy's bedroom studio in Stamford Hill. A few unofficial Yamwho? reworks later and legitimate remix offers started coming in. The duo set up studio in West London next to Goya distribution sharing a corridor with Bugz in The Attic and IG Culture before moving on to Finsbury Park next door to old friends Simon and Robin Lee of Faze Action. Over that time the duo have worked with a diverse range of artists and bands including: John Legend, Amp Fiddler, Incognito, The Blockheads, Zero 7, Grace Jones, Chaz Jankel and Odyssey, to name a few.

Des goes on to say; I was lucky enough to find my way into this through a non-traditional musical education that was informed and inspired largely by the records I bought, the clubs I went to and played at, and the friends I made along the way.

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El Wahat - Djelmani MahFoud (Onda)
El Wahat
"Djelmani Mahfoud" (ONDA 19??)
I came by this LP after meeting Dawson Miller, a very knowledgeable musician and specialist in Arabic rhythms who sadly passed away earlier this year. There's little info on the sleeve but appears to be a collection of music produced by the Algerian Ministere De L'Information. My favourite track is a mix of mambo guaguanco and middle eastern keys from Algerian TV composer Djelmani Mahfoud. Nuyorica meets North Africa! Listen
Joseph Phillip - Keep On Praying (Gospel Tones)
Joseph Phillip & the Supernatural Gospel Tones
"Keep On Praying" (Gospel Tones 1979)
By chance I passed a small shop in Tobago selling CDs and DVDs and noticed there was a small pile of records for sale in one corner. Not expecting much initially I pulled some surprisingly nice and obscure titles from the small selection and asked if they had any more. I was told to come back in a few days which I did and found even more good stuff. By now I'd built up a good rapport with the owner and each time I went back there was a couple more boxes which yielded more and more amazing records sometimes multiple copies all in amazing condition. I had bought quite a lot by now and on my last visit ended up waiting for a flat bed pick up truck to arrive with about 5000 records piled up in the back. Heartfelt thanks to the owner for feeding my by now very evident vinyl addiction. I found this soulful Trinidad gospel 12" as well as many other great Caribbean produced records which I would likely never known about or had the chance to own. Listen
Tulio De Piscopo - Coagulation (Analogy)
Tulio De Piscopo
"COAGULATION" (Analogy 1973)
On my first visit to Puerto Rico in 2008 I was invited to play at the Candela festival in Old San Juan where I met Nat Busquelo who generously invited me to join him and producer Pete Rock to go digging at an infamous hardware store come record shop just outside San Juan. After gaining the somewhat eccentric owners permission to go beyond the safe-like door and into what I can only describe as a vinyl Aladdin's cave. Room after room were piled high with latin records of all description and genre. We all put on dust masks and set to work sifting through stacks of records which would regularly reveal a rare gem and occasionally some very surprised cockroaches. Regardless, I made quite a few trips back to that place after and was a huge learning experience.

I had heard of drummer Tulio De Piscopo years before when my older sister returned from a holiday in Ibiza in 1987 with a copy of the Balearic classic Primavera (Stop Bajon) (which I still have somewhere). I randomly found this much earlier obscure Italian release amongst a box of Latin singles at the renowned music shop Caterdral de la Musica in the same area as the hardware store. Both sides are for the most part a drum break from start to finish with some psychedelic effects thrown in for good measure. Listen

Sweet Mixture - House Of Fun And Love (Bazar)
Sweet Mixture
"House of fun and love" (Bazar 19??)
The sound on this 45 takes me back to when I first got into what became known as 'rare groove' in the mid to late 80's. Back then I didn't have the money to buy a lot of the in-demand records I saw on lists and at record fairs and bootleg comps were an easier way to get hold of those elusive tracks. I was fortunate to find a couple of like minded friends at art college when I first moved to London who introduced me to a lot of music. From there I started occasionally DJing at parties and digging for records seriously. I got this gem from the singer in a band whose first LP I played percussion on. P.S. Shout out to my past flatmates and musical cohorts Ian Cater, Jake Holloway and Lascelle Gordon. Listen
Kysofusion Band - Can't Stop Dancing
Kysofusion Band
"Can't Stop Dancing" (feat. Keith "Designer" Prescott) (Kysofusion Band 1988)
I was on holiday in Port of Spain, Trinidad having drinks one evening in the Hyatt Hotel lounge. There was a female singer performing jazz standards with a great guitarist who turned out to be none other than Michael Boothman who recorded the stunning and now fairly well known cover version of 'What You Won't Do For Love' which I had discovered on the Mystic Sea 12" on an earlier trip whilst visiting family. After a fascinating and forthcoming chat about the recording of that track I asked if he had any copies for sale of the other 12" I was aware he had released with the track 'Waiting For Your Love'. Michael said he was fairly sure he had a spare copy at home but would need a little time to look, we arranged to meet back at the hotel foyer in a few days.

After meeting again Michael explained that he couldn't find a copy of the record I had asked for, but had brought something else he had recorded and pressed that he thought I would like and that few people knew about. He even brought me two copies and I thanked him, admittedly feeling a bit disappointed that I missed out on the other record. I got back to the UK and had almost forgotten about the Kysofusion 12" as I had picked up so many amazing records after the lucky discovery of a long closed record shop's leftover stock. After hearing the synth and bassline in the first few bars I knew I had got lucky again. A still largely unknown killer boogie tune from one of Trinidad's finest musicians. Listen

Condry Ziqubu - She's Impossible (CCP Record Company)
Condry Ziqubu
"She's Impossible" (ccp Record Company 1986)
Having a career as an Art Director in advertising has given me a a few opportunities to find records abroad. About 20 years ago I was in Cape Town working on a TV ad for none other than Qualcast lawnmowers and found a great shop downtown called Vibes records. I bought some great US Jazz and Soul LP's as well as some South African records which I've recently re-discovered, this being one. Love the production and backing vocals on this track. Listen
The Celestial Choir
"Stand on the word" (No Label 1982)
In 1996 my good friend and soon to be flatmate Jake Holloway asked me to go on a record digging trip to New York with him. I'd never been to America and was an eye opener on many levels. Hitting the flea markets on 6th Avenue and record fairs turned up some great finds and funny experiences. A couple of years later Jake introduced me to Steve the owner of the Sound Library and I made a visit with a box of records mostly with breaks to sample to trade. At that time it was common to see the likes of Q-Tip, Pete Rock and Diamond D buying record there. Prior to this Jake had told me about an amazing record he had heard by a gospel group that he had heard at the store. After working out a generous credit amount for the records I set about crossing of a fair few wants from the amazing stock. Steve pulled another copy of this gospel LP he had managed to find and played it to me. After hearing the vocals build on the intro and the 4/4 beat kick in it was easy to see why this was a special record and one that I wouldn't see again if I didn't take that copy. Thanks again to Jake for hooking me up. Listen
Soul Of Haringey
"Miracles" (PRIVATE PRESS 1986)
I lived in Dalston for a couple of years and spent a fair amount of time digging in the charity and second hand shops in the area. A regular stop was the Dalston Oxfam where I found some great records, more often than not in the 99p section. This was one such find and I was initially intrigued by the cover design and the fact that it was privately pressed.

I couldn't find out much info at the time and most fellow collectors and dealers I asked were unaware of it. Released in 1986 ex-school pupils from the Haringey borough provide a surprisingly high quality mix of tunes, one of my favorites is Miracles by Jennifer Viban Listen

Mort Shuman
"I got the feeling" (Philips 1977)
This record was given to me by Disco aficionado Steve Kotey back when myself and Andy Williams shared a studio in Finsbury Park next to good friends Simon and Robin Lee of Faze Action. Was a great opportunity to hear a lot of inspirational music and share info on records. A quirky and funky little disco tune from the L'Hotel de la Plage soundtrack. Listen
PeruchIn Y Su Grupo
"Pa Gozar" (Gema 1958)
Without any prior formal music training a key part of my musical education has been through records, from listening to different players trying to work out what they're doing to playing along. I went to Havana in 2004 to study Afro-Cuban percussion and naturally went hunting for records. Apart from the odd makeshift market stalls there wasn't a lot to be found until I located a shop in downtown Havana which you would never guess is a record store from the front. After getting acquainted with the owner I set about digging through the racks of Arieto and Egrem titles. I noticed that there were a lot of great records but the condition of a lot of them wasn't very good. The owner explained that he was keeping the better condition copies aside for some buyers from Japan who came about twice a year. After a bit more friendly chat about the Beatles and Rolling Stones he produced a few carrier bags full of the special stuff he'd been keeping and said he had time to find more. Thank you very kindly! I managed to get hold of a lot of hard to find LP's and got a very quick education at the same time. As well as the more club friendly 70's and 80's recordings from the likes of Juan Pablo Torres, Irakere and Emiliano Salvador I also managed to pick up some early Cuban pressings of the Descarga LP's from Cachao and also this LP by Piano player Peruchin which also features Cachao on Bass and Tata Guines on congas. On a side note the actor Matt Dillon was in the store on one occasion I was there and it turns out he's a big Latin music fan and record collector of the early Cuban bands. Listen
"J.L.T." (Decca 1970)
Every Sunday morning a house clearance place near where I lived in Walthamstow used to put all the records and books they had collected the previous week out. Most weeks I made it over were spent sifting through the usual Max Bygraves and Top of the Pops assortment. However one Sunday I had a major score when they acquired a collection of Psych, Prog, Jazz and 70's German electronic LPs. I stopped looking at each record after a while and started lifting armfuls into piles realizing it was all good stuff, after checking back through them I probably took away close to 200 records, one of which was this LP. My favourite track is J.L.T. which I thought would make a great sample and it turns out Madlib has done the honours. Listen
Afrocult Foundation
"A Deusa Negra" (London Records 1978)
I had signed up to attend a percussion course in Salvador, Bahia in 2005 which was an incredible experience and insight into the vast range of folkloric and popular Afro Brazilian rhythms, some of which I was already familiar with from records I had bought in the UK some years before. The school is in the famous Historic Center or 'Pelourinho' as it is known and run by Bira Reis who was a founder member of the samba reggae supergroup Olodum.

As well as studying I was keen to find some records and after asking around was advised to seek out a dreadlocked guy called Luis. After being introduced to him on the street he gave me his shop address, which was basically in his living room. Full of records organized in racks which I had never seen or heard before and all at very agreeable prices. One of which was this deep and hypnotic Afro-Brazilian film soundtrack. Luis affectionately nicknamed me 'Loco', probably due to my enthusiasm and carrying away so many records on each visit. Definitely one of the best 'shops' I've ever been to. Listen

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